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Switch to Forum Live View The pope's position
10 years ago  ::  Jun 16, 2008 - 2:54PM #1
TemplarS
Posts: 7,522
In fact, I see the debate over infallibiity as one of those things where even if you grant the possibility in principle, in practice it is both difficult to discern and largely irrelevant.

Nobody argues that the Church, and various Popes, have made mistakes.  The question is, how does one circumscribe the statements which are to be judged "infallible." Ex cathedra statements concerning faith and morals, it is said.  Very well, but these notions may shift over time;  a geocentric universe was once a subject of faith, now it is cosmology; slavery was once a matter of ecnomics, now it is morals.  There may be only one sure proof of infallibility, and it is a negative and hence not very useful one:  if a teaching changes or is found to contain error, it could not have been infallible to begin with.

On the other hand, what really is the value of the doctrine of infallibility?  It is not necessary for authority.  A Pope may freely proclaim something as authoritative, that is, binding on Catholics and subject to no appeal to a higher authority, without attaching infallibility to it at all.  Anyone may feel free to lodge an appeal to God by following their own conscience, of course; but they may do this even if such a proclamation is carries the premise of being infallible.

The problem with the current doctrine is that it has done little more than provide fodder to anti-Catholic apologists, who constantly bring up obsolete papal discourses which would otherwise be long forgotten, except for their perceived relevance to this debate, and hence force Catholic apologists to defend something which is not, centuries later perhaps, worth any effort whatsoever.  It is a loud and unedifying sideshow.

I can do without this.
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10 years ago  ::  Jun 15, 2008 - 12:58PM #2
bvarnell
Posts: 628
Hi,
I was just wondering 2 things

1. Do you believe in the doctrine of Papal infallibility?

2. Would it shake your faith if one day the church said that it had been wrong in reguards to papal infallibility?

also (extra question)

Do you believe it is ok to question some teachings of teh church but still be catholic?
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10 years ago  ::  Jun 15, 2008 - 8:03PM #3
Tmarie64
Posts: 5,277
1.  Don't know.  Part of me does, part of me is undecided.
2.  Nope.

3.  Yes, I do.  All the teachings and "laws" were made by MEN who know very little about life in the real world.
James Thurber - "It is better to know some of the questions than all of the answers."
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10 years ago  ::  Jun 16, 2008 - 10:00AM #4
BKW1
Posts: 120
1.  Yes, and I believe most Catholics who don't and even some non-Catholics would if they understood the teaching.  Papal Infalliblity is one of the most misunderstood, misrepresented teachings of the Catholic Church.

2.  This will never happen since the teaching is considered infallible.

3.  Depends on the teaching.  For example, married priests, yes; transbustantiation, no.
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10 years ago  ::  Jun 16, 2008 - 10:37AM #5
WaveringCC
Posts: 5,164

bvarnell wrote:

Hi,
I was just wondering 2 things

1. Do you believe in the doctrine of Papal infallibility?

2. Would it shake your faith if one day the church said that it had been wrong in reguards to papal infallibility?

also (extra question)

Do you believe it is ok to question some teachings of teh church but still be catholic?



1.  Not as defined at Vatican I.

2. No - the definition will be developed in the future. It has an overemphasis on the papacy and goes against the traditional understanding of the concept throughout almost two thousand years of church history.  This definition was pushed through the council largely as Pius IX's response to the political environment and events of the era during the englightenment,

3.  Of course.  Infallibility is applicable to only a handful of Catholic church teachings and most of those are shared by all Christians - they are in the creed.

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10 years ago  ::  Jun 16, 2008 - 11:29AM #6
malanga
Posts: 626
[QUOTE=bvarnell;564521]Hi,
I was just wondering 2 things

1. Do you believe in the doctrine of Papal infallibility?



In truth, I have not considered it, nor do I feel a need to.  Such doctrines are of little importance to me, nor do they add anything to my faith.


2. Would it shake your faith if one day the church said that it had been wrong in regards to papal infallibility?



Nope, for the same reasons stated above.


Do you believe it is ok to question some teachings of the church but still be catholic?[/QUOTE]
It would be a rare Catholic who does not question some teaching of the Church.  However because you question it does not mean you are going against it.  I for example question the annulment process, however I will not simply skip it because I do not agree with it.

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10 years ago  ::  Jun 16, 2008 - 4:21PM #7
malanga
Posts: 626
Very nicely stated TemplarS.  To me, papal infallibility does nothing to strengthen the faith in my opinion.   As you mentioned, it opens the Catholic faith to attacks by other denominations.  This is, to me, one of the greatest problems with the Catholic Church, because it puts so much emphasis on such things as papal infallibility which in the end detract more than strengthen.  Take for example the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception.  Does it matter if a pope has decreed that this is an infallible doctrine?  If this were not the case, would members leave the faith?  Would the faith be weakened in any way?  In my view, God Chose Mary to be the Christ-bearer, and that is that.  The fact that God chose her is sufficient for me; whether it is declared she was conceived without sin is really quite irrelevant.  Such arguments may be of value to the theological students and professors, but for the rest of us, they add very little.
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10 years ago  ::  Jun 16, 2008 - 4:42PM #8
Riesl1
Posts: 270
I think that questioning is never a bad thing. If we do not question, we do not understand. If we do not understand, our belief is based in someone else's faith, not our own.

That said, as a catholic who believes in infallibility and that the church is guided by the holy spirit, when I question, I ask "why do I believe this" rather than "why is this untrue". In my life, when I have questioned why I believe something the church teaches, I have always found an answer, so there is no basis for me to start from a premise of doubt.
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10 years ago  ::  Jun 17, 2008 - 2:17AM #9
rjak134
Posts: 320
1 - Yes - the dogma was proclaimed at a valid, ecumenical Council of the Church, which has been understood from the earliest days of Church history as one of the primary ways in which dogmas may be promulgated infallibly (see the Nicene Creed, for example, which came out of the Ecumenical Council of Nicea).  To disbelieve in the doctrine of papal infallibility is to overthrow the entire conciliar & papal structure of the Church.

2 - Since the dogma was promulgated by an ecumenical Council, it never will be overturned by the Church, no matter what anyone says.  For the Church to declare it had been wrong about infallibility would be for the Church to declare that it was not what it says it is, that ecumenical Councils are not what the say they are, and that the Papal office is not what it claims it is.  If that did turn out to be the case, of course, I would be out faster'n you could say "Bob's your uncle."

3 - Depends what you mean by "question a teaching."  If you mean have difficulty with a teaching and struggle to comprehend it, then I don't see any problem.  That seems to me to be the most authentically Catholic approach, in keeping with Christian practice from the earliest centuries.  If you mean to know what the Church teaches & to refuse to assent to the teaching that God has revealed through the Church, then I do see a problem.  The Church is the Body of Christ, and when she speaks authoritatively, as she has on any number of these controversial issues (women priests, abortion, contraception, gay marriage, etc. etc.), she is to be heard.  As John Henry Cardinal Newman said, "Ten thousand difficulties do not equal one doubt."
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10 years ago  ::  Jun 17, 2008 - 3:07PM #10
Prajna
Posts: 1,705
[QUOTE=bvarnell;564521]

1. Do you believe in the doctrine of Papal infallibility?

2. Would it shake your faith if one day the church said that it had been wrong in reguards to papal infallibility?

also (extra question)

Do you believe it is ok to question some teachings of teh church but still be catholic?[/QUOTE]

1.  Yes. 

2.  Doubt it would happen as Rjak already stated.

3.  Yes.  I question some teachings of the Church.  Are you just questioning them or knowingly going to deny the teachings?
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